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Thayer Deference/Defiance: Southeast Asia, China and the South China Sea.

Thayer Deference/Defiance: Southeast Asia, China and the South China Sea.

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Published by Carlyle Alan Thayer

An examination of relations between China and the ten individual members of the Association of Souteast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on the issue of the South China Sea.

An examination of relations between China and the ten individual members of the Association of Souteast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on the issue of the South China Sea.

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Published by: Carlyle Alan Thayer on Nov 22, 2012
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09/17/2013

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Deference/Defiance: Southeast Asia,China and the South China Sea
 
Carlyle A. Thayer
 Paper to the Workshop, The Deer and the Dragon: Southeast Asiaand China in the 21
st
Century, co‐sponsored by Southeast AsiaForum, Shorenstein Asia‐Pacific Research Center, StanfordUniversity and the China Programme, Institute of Defence andSecurity Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies,Nanyang Technological University, SingaporeNovember 15‐16, 2012
 
 2
Deference/Defiance: Southeast Asia, China,and the South China Sea
Carlyle A. Thayer
Introduction
Southeast Asian states have had to contend with South China Sea issues involvingChina/Taiwan since the 1950s. In the contemporary period, Southeast Asian states groupedin the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) issued their first formal statement onthe South China Sea in 1992 in response to tensions arising from China’s occupation of features claimed by Vietnam.
1
In 1995, when China occupied Mischief Reef, a maritimefeature claimed by the Philippines, ASEAN foreign ministers issued their second statementon the South China Sea. It expressed their “serious concern” and urged the concerned(unnamed) parties “to refrain from taking actions that de‐stabilize the situation.”
2
Thesesingular events occurred before China’s economic rise began to take hold and becomeperhaps the single more important driver in relations between China and Southeast Asia.China and the ASEAN stated have been engaged in diplomatic discussions of South ChinaSea issues since the Mischief Reef incident. Although both ASEAN and China drew up theirown codes of conduct for the South China Sea they were unable to reach agreement on acommon text. This resulted in the 2002 Declaration on Conduct of Parties in the South ChinaSea (DOC). Negotiations continued until mid‐2011 when ASEAN and China agreed onGuidelines to Implement the DOC. These are still under discussion.
3
 
1
ASEAN Declaration On The South China Sea, Manila, Philippines, 22 July 1992.http://www.aseansec.org/1196.htm.
2
Statement by the ASEAN Foreign Ministers on the Recent Developments in the South China Sea 18 March1995;http://www.aseansec.org/2089.htm.
3
For background consult: Carlyle A. Thayer, "ASEAN’S Code of Conduct in the South China Sea: A Litmus Testfor Community‐Building?,"
The Asia‐Pacific Journal 
, Vol. 10, Issue 34, No. 4, August 20, 2012.
 
 3
In 2007 and continuing up to the present, China began to become more assertive in pushingits sovereignty claims.
4
Chinese assertiveness involved putting foreign oil companies underdiplomatic pressure not to assist Vietnam in developing its hydrocarbon resources incontested maters and increasing aggressive action against Vietnamese boats in waterssurrounding the Paracel Islands. The year 2009 marked a turning point. China responded tosubmissions by Malaysia and Vietnam to the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf by officially tabling for the first time a u‐shaped map containing ninedash lines claiming over eighty percent of the South China Sea. Chinese civilian agenciesthen became active in attempting to assert jurisdiction over these waters. This resulted innumerous incidents between China and the Philippines and Vietnam including Chineseactions in driving off an oil exploration vessel in waters claimed by the Philippines andcutting the cables on two vessels conducting seismic tests in Vietnam’s Exclusive EconomicZone (EEZ).
4
For background see: Ian Storey and Carlyle A. Thayer, “The South China Sea Dispute: A Review of Developments and Their Implications since the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties,” in K. V. Kesavanand Daljit Singh, eds.,
South and Southeast Asia: Responding to Changing Geo‐Political and Security Challenges
 (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies and New Delhi: KW Publishers Pvt Ltd, 2010), 57‐72; .CarlyleA. Thayer, “Recent Developments in the South China Sea: Implications for Peace, Stability and Cooperation inthe Region,” in Tran Truong Thuy, ed.,
The South China Sea: Cooperation for Regional Security and Development: Proceedings of the International Workshop co‐organized by the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnamand the Vietnam Lawyers’ Association, 26‐27 November 2009, Hanoi, Vietnam
(Hanoi: Nha Xuat Ban The Gioi,2010), 125‐138; Carlyle A. Thayer,
Recent Developments in the South China Sea: Grounds for CautiousOptimism?,
RSIS Working Paper No. 220 (Singapore: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, NanyangTechnological University, Singapore, December 14, 2010; Carlyle A. Thayer, “Security Cooperation in the SouthChina Sea: An Assessment of Recent Trends,” in,
National Security Review 
special edition, The South China SeaReader, Papers and Proceedings of the Manila Conference on the South China Sea: Toward A Region of Peace,Cooperation and Progress, July 5‐6, 2011, Manila, Philippines (Manila: National Defense College of thePhilippines, Foreign Service Institute and Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam, 2011), 13‐40; Carlyle A. Thayer,“Recent Developments in the South China Sea: Implications for Regional Security,” in Tran Truong Thuy, ed.,
The South China Sea: Towards a Region of Peace, Security and Cooperation
(Hanoi: Nha Xuat Ban The Gioi,2011), 117‐140; Carlyle A. Thayer, “Chinese Assertiveness in the South China Sea and Southeast AsianResponses,”
 Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affair 
s
, 30(2), 2011, 77‐104 and Carlyle A. Thayer, “China’sNew Wave of Aggressive Assertiveness in the South China Sea,”
The International Journal of China Studies
 
[Institute of China Studies, University of Malaya], 2(3), December 2011, 555‐583.

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